Cats Rescued from China’s Yulin Festival Arrive in Washington, D.C.

HSI and local activists rescued the cats from a Chinese slaughterhouse in May

Humane Society International

Two cats rescued by Humane Society International from a slaughterhouse in Yulin, China in May, are now safe in the United States. One of the cats, named Huru (meaning freedom in Swahili) by readers of the Daily Mirror in the UK, was featured in one of the most enduring and haunting images of this year’s Yulin festival — climbing the wall of the wire pen holding hundreds of cats waiting slaughter prior to his rescue.

Huru and his friend, taken from the same slaughterhouse, had collars on when they were found, indicating that they were possibly stolen pets. They are now at the Washington Animal Rescue League, a Humane Society International emergency placement partner in Washington, D.C., and will be put up for adoption.

Upon arriving at their temporary home at the shelter, both cats immediately made their way up a cat tower and huddled together on the circular platform to fall asleep.

HSI’s Dr. Peter Li rescued the two cats when he visited Yulin in the weeks leading up to the dog meat festival that took place June 22. He was there to observe the preparations for the annual mass dog slaughter and engage with local activists. The cats were rescued alongside Little Ricky, a dog named in honor of HSI’s celebrity supporter Ricky Gervais, whose social media activism on dog meat helped raise massive international awareness and outrage over the cruelty in Yulin. Little Ricky arrived at WARL in June and has since been adopted by a loving family.

Media Contacts:

HSI: Raúl Arce-Contreras, 240-620-3263,

WARL: Matt Williams, 202-375-7750,